How does culture matter for development? Do certain societies have cultures which condemn them to poverty? Led by Arjun Appadurai, Mary Douglas, and Amartya Sen, the anthropologists and economists in this volume contend that culture is central to development, and that cultural processes are neither inherently good nor bad and never static. Rather, they are contested and evolving, and can be a source of profound social and economic transformation through their influence on aspirations and collective action; yet they can also be exploitative, exclusionary, and can lead to inequality.
Culture and Public Action includes case studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, which examine the role of culture in community-based development, ethnic conflict, famine relief, gender discrimination, and HIV-AIDS policy. The editors conclude by proposing how a "cultural lens" can better inform future research and public policy on development. Accessible, balanced, and engaging, this book will be of interest to anyone concerned with the relationship between culture and economics, and the design and implementation of development policy.
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Publisher: Stanford University Press
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 617 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
"The observation that cultural norms affect economic development has been made repeatedly, yet it has been very hard to use it effectively, whether for policy or for prediction. The essays in this volume present authoritatively the present state of knowledge and point out new aspects which hold out the prospect of greater usefulness." -- Kenneth Arrow, Stanford University * and Winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics *
"The editors are to be congratulated on having attracted three heavy hitters to their enterprise-Amartya Sen, Mary Douglas, and Arjun Appadurai. And these luminaries have come up with the goods, writing papers any one of which would attract readers. This book will have a diverse readership and it will deserve to do so." -- Dr. Keith Hart * University of Aberdeen *
"This book provides us with valuable insights into the relationship between culture and development, and with practical advice on the implications of this for development policy. It should be read by all who are interested in reducing poverty and deprivation in our increasingly interconnected world." -- James D. Wolfensohn, President * The World Bank *
"Rao and Walton's Culture and Public Action . . . . develops a remarkably different approach both to the conceptualization of culture and to the understanding of its role - primarily in regard to poverty and inequality. A collection of essays by economists, anthropologists, and political scientists, the book robustly critiques cultural determinism." -- Governance and Development Review
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